Raise awareness of environmental health issues in order to better protect our children and future generations.

03 January 2017

Film Review: "Rachel Carson Silent Spring"

Update 3 January 2017:
The film by PBS reviewed here is only available for purchase.  We propose this 9-minute NHD documentary which offers a brief sketch of her life and work.  Our Facebook friends have just signaled to us the 3-part series "Silent Spring" written by Rachel Carson published in 1962 by the New Yorker Magazine, links available here:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

(Photo:  Alfred Eisenstaedt / Time Life Pictures)
In 2007, an inspiring documentary of Rachel Carson's life, education, career and her lasting contribution to environmental health, “Rachel Carson Silent Spring” by Neil Goodman, was shown on public television (PBS).  

As early as 1945, as a member of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Rachel Carson began investigating the effects of insecticides (DDT) on wildlife.  A bird sanctuary in Massachusetts was sprayed with DDT producing “a spring silent of birdsong”, from whence came the title of the book which was to make her famous.

When she first began writing articles about the toxic effects of insecticides, she was met with pervasiveness on the part of government agencies which refused to provide her with information, and with media hostility. Suburbs were being sprayed with DDT, afterwards with dieldrin, 40 times more toxic than DDT. One million acres of land was treated with dieldrin in the first year of its use to rid the area of fire ants. Everything died.

In 1960, Carson finished the first draft of “Silent Spring”.  Her book challenged the integrity of the chemical industry which tried to stop its publication.  It talked about the effects of toxic substances on future generations. “Every human being was subject to contact with dangerous chemicals from the moment of conception until death.”  After its publication in 1962, forty states in the U.S. introduced bills against pesticide use.  The very first Senate hearings were held.

Carson was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1960, underwent a mastectomy and radiation treatment which made her very ill.  In spite of this, she courageously carried on her fight to raise consciousness of the government and the public of the effect on our health and that of future generations of toxic substances in the environment.

by Meris Michaels
Originally written 12 October 2012


  1. You may be interested in 'Perspectives on Silent Spring at 50" Symposium presented by the National Aviary and Chatham University Rachel Carson Institute on May 11-12, 2012. See this site for information and registration.

  2. Meris:
    can you tell me where you found this wonderful photo of Rachel Carson in the field? I would love to know the source!

    thank you

  3. Bryony,

    After a brief search of images on the Net, I found this credit beneath the photo :

    ALFRED EISENSTAEDT / Time Life Pictures

    It's from a 2010 article in Time "The 25 Most Powerful Women of the Past Century".



Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.